The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Students are introduced to the basics of early medieval studies, with compulsory modules in Archaeology, History and Old English providing the foundation for more specialised degree work in Years 2 and 3.
Beginnings of English
You will be introduced to the language, literature and culture of medieval England and study Old and Middle English texts. In this module you’ll familiarise yourself with the knowledge needed for reading and understanding medieval texts. In addition you will be introduced to the basics of grammar and spelling conventions. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour seminar per week.
This interdisciplinary module introduces you to the impact of the Viking Age and of the Viking expansion. You will be made familiar with concepts such as diasporic settlements and identity, as well as being introduced to the various ways of evaluating sources from the Viking Age (such as historical sources, material culture etc.). You will also learn about the myths and the language, as well as the culture of the Viking Age and beyond. You will have an hour-long weekly lecture plus five seminars throughout the semester.
Introduction and Approaches to Archaeology
This module will provide you with an introduction to Archaeology as a discipline. It covers the development of the subject and examines methods for discovering, recovering and analysing archaeological remains. Archaeological prospection/survey, excavation, post-survey/excavation analysis, approaches to dating, materials analysis and an introduction to frameworks of social interpretation are all themes addressed within the module. The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars, practical classes, computer workshops and a field trip, on average taking up about three hours per week.
This module primarily concerned with evidence from or relation to archaeological sites. Techniques such as pollen analysis, the examination of human and animal bones and plan remains contribute to our understanding, and help us to interpret the economy and condition of life in the past. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops.
Introduction to Medieval Archaeology AD 400 - 1400
This module considers the archaeology of Britain in its European context from the end of the Roman Empire to the high Middle Ages (from c. AD 400 – 1400) in chronological and thematic order. Key topics include: the formation of post-Roman societies; rural settlement; the emergence of central places and the development of towns; trade and exchange; and the introduction of Christianity and the role of the Church. The lectures and seminars, totalling around three hours per week, will explore integrated approaches to archaeological evidence incorporating landscapes, standing buildings, excavated sites and material culture. There will also be a field trip included in the module.
This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of the functions served by engagement with the past. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance the skills listed. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Introduction to the Medieval World, 500-1500
This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organization; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
Language and Context
This module considers the main forms and functions of English vocabulary, grammar and discourse and explores how they are used in real social and cultural contexts. You will look at how language is used for different purposes and how people use language to reveal and conceal social realities as well other topics surrounding language and context. For this module you will have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar per week.
This module will introduce some of the core skills necessary for literary studies through focus on specific poetry and prose texts. You will address topics including: close reading, constructing an argument and handling critical material. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars.
Introduction to Drama
For this module you’ll explore the variety of drama in the western dramatic tradition. You will consider some of the following: theatre of ancient Greece, medieval mystery and morality plays, the drama of Shakespeare and the Restoration, and nineteenth century naturalism. For this module you’ll study selected plays but also explore 20th century interpretations of the texts through use of video extracts. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, workshops and seminars.
Human Origins: From Forests to First Farmers
In this module you will be given a basic overview of the last seven million years of human evolution, including key fossils, sites and artefacts, such Toumaï, Lucy and the Neanderthals. The course begins with the earliest hominins from Chad, and finishes with the settlement of Europe following the arrival of the farming on Neolithic. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and fieldtrips over the course of 11 weeks.
Prehistory from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age
This module discusses the development of metal-using cultures in Europe, with rise to complex societies, for example the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations. This development is followed into the Celtic Iron Age with its strongholds and remarkable art, the art and culture of the Scythians is also discussed as well as the archaeology of Iron Age Britain. For this module you will have a two 1-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.
Introduction to the Archaeology of the Roman Empire
This module provides an introduction of the archaeology of the Roman Empire. It traces the development of the Roman world and examines the archaeology of the Empires provinces, including Britain. Specific themes in this course include town, villas and the countryside, housing the army among other related topics. For this module you will have a combination of lecture and seminars over the course of eight weeks.
From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history, 1500-1789
This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Roads to Modernity: an introduction to modern history, 1789-1945
In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Students take core modules in Norse and Viking Studies and choose further relevant modules from a range offered by Archaeology and English Studies and History.
Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North
In this module you will study and analyse the key texts of old Norse myth and legend from which popular stories come, along with pictorial versions in wood and stone from throughout the Viking world. You’ll explore the development of Norse myth and legend from the Viking Age, through medieval Christian Iceland, and into more recent times. You’ll have a one-hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week.
Sisters, Sex and scribes: writing women in early medieval Britain
This module will introduce you to a range of different ways in which women influenced text production in the period 800-1200 in Britain, with comparative examples from Old Norse literature. You’ll look at women as writers, readers, sponsors and recipients of texts and discuss the meaning of ‘literacy’ in this historical context. Examples will range from saints' lives to runic inscriptions. You also consider how women are portrayed in the literature of their time, and if particular genres were thought to be especially appropriate for a female audience. You will have an hour lecture and a two hour seminar every week.
Blood and Treasure: Vikings, Franks and Anglo-Saxons, 793-910
In this module you will examine the impact of the Vikings as raiders, mercenaries, settlers and traders in the Frankish Empire and Anglo-Saxon England in the ninth century. It will also trace the political and cultural development of the Frankish Empire and Anglo-Saxon England in this period. You will discuss the extent to which later eleventh and twelfth century medieval sources have shaped the reputation of the Vikings, and influenced our understanding of events. During this module you will have three hours of lectures and an hour-long seminar every week.
In this module will familiarise you with archaeological evidence and controversial issues surrounding: urban growth in late medieval Britain; the development of the rural economy and changes in medieval village plans; the development of fortifications and coastal defences and the spread of monasteries and their economic role in medieval society. You will have a weekly two-hour lecture for this module as well as a one-day field trip during the semester.
Chaucer and his Contemporaries: c.1380 - c.1420
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the fourteenth and turn of the fifteenth century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You will also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. You will have an hour-long lecture and two one-hour seminars weekly for this module.
This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late eleventh century to the mid- thirteenth century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will have five hours per week in lectures and seminars.
This module provides you with a broad introduction to the current methods and practice of underwater Archaeology. The module focuses on themes such as lake dwellings, shipwrecks, submerged cities and sunken harbours. Case studies are used ranging in space from Scandinavia to Australia and in time from BC 1500 to the last century. Some of the issues tackled in this module include; Methods and techniques of underwater excavation, Problems of conservation and underwater material, Sunken harbours, cities and processes of submergences, and Lake dwelling and freshwater archaeology among others. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Archaeology of Technological Production
In this module you’ll be provided with a number of case studies with which to understand modes of production at various stages throughout history, and in a range of geographical locations. You will also examine wider theoretical issues, including the social and economic dimensions associated with the processes involved in transforming a range of different materials into artefacts. The archaeological background to the production of a range of materials – metals, lithics, glass, and ceramics – will also be described. This module is delivered through one 2-hour lectures weekly
Britain in the Western Roman Empire
This module covers the archaeology of Roman Britain from the Roman invasion down to AD400 Since Roman Britain can only be adequately understood in the context of developments taking place in neighbouring provinces, the main themes will involve comparison with European archaeology. Principal topics will include; the army and frontier defences, cities, rural settlement, villas and the economy. You will have two hours of lectures per week for this module.
In this module you will be introduced to the development of archeological theory and practice, with special attention paid to the paradigms put forward over the last thirty years, and the ensuing debates. Some of the topics include; uniformitarianism, ethnography, typology, the ‘New Archeology’, processualism, economic archaeology, post-processualism and neo-marxist paradigms. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
History, Theory and Practice of Archaeology
In this module you will be introduced to the development of archaeological theory and practice, with special attention to the paradigms put forward over the last 30 years, and the ongoing debates. Topics covered in this module include; uniformitarianism, ethnography, typology, the ‘New archaeology’, processualism, economic archaeology, post-processualism and neo-marxism paradigms. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
In Year 3, students may write a dissertation on a subject of their choice, building on the taught modules.
Outlaws, Ghosts and Heroes: Iceland and its Medieval Literature
You’ll be given an introduction to the Icelandic sagas including the language of the sagas and short lectures on Icelandic literature, culture, history and landscape. You’ll take part in student-led discussions of selected saga-texts. Core texts are the canonical Grettis saga and Njáls saga.
Kings, Saints and Monsters in 450-850
This module examines cultural and political changes in the southern half of the island of Britain between the fifth and ninth centuries, in particular the development of kingship and kingdoms as a form of political organisation, and the effects of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England
This module considers the archaeology of England from the end of the Roman occupation until the Norman conquest. You will focus on the question of the Romano-British survival and the impact of Romano-British culture on the Anglo-Saxon incomers, on the archaeology of the early state in England, on the development of town and rural settlement patterns, on the role of the church in society and on the Danish impact on England. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars and field trips over the course of 11 weeks.
This modules studies place- names with an aim to illustrate the various languages spoken in England over the last 2000 years. You’ll learn how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English. Part of the module’s assessment can be directed at a geographical area of particular interest to you.
Literature of the Anglo-Saxons
This module provides students who already possess basic knowledge of Old English the chance to explore the astonishing range of heroic and Christian texts from the earliest stages of English literature. Themes include Germanic myth and legend as well as heroic endeavour and Christian passion. Study of the epic poem Beowulf will be considered from various aspects as an essential part of the module.
The Archaeology of the Medieval City
The aim of this module is to provide you with a broad knowledge of the archaeological evidence for the development of cities and urban life in the later medieval period 1000-1500, with a focus on English towns and cities in their wider Europe context. The module will explore the integration of varied sources of archaeological evidence including urban landscapes, buildings and material culture, and particular emphasis placed on interdisciplinary approaches to urban economic and social life. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and a fieldtrip over the period of 11 weeks.
Conquest: The Kings of England from Doomsday to Magna Carta
This module takes a chronological and thematic look into the reins of the Kings and Queens of England from William the Conquerer to King John. You will study a selection of primary texts in translation as well as secondary literature which interprets the subject and offers you the chance to analyse your own findings.
Goths, Huns, Avars and Romans: Conflict on the Danube in Late Antiquity
This module covers the archaeology of the Danubian provinces, following themes from the 1st to the 6th century AD. You will look at the differences between archaeological methodology, modern political ideology and testing the reliability of archaeological interpretation. You will also study controversial issues such as the character of Balkan Archaeology and research methods as well as changes in urbanism.
This module provides you with the opportunity to study an in-depth topic of your choosing under the direction of a supervisor. You will discuss your analysis and research strategies together and work towards a 7,000 words dissertation. By the end of this module you will be more confident in undertaking independent study.